My Mom was a devout catholic and raised us to observe the lenten tradition. Easter Sunday is widely celebrated in the whole christendom and I remember my Mom waking us up at dawn and dragging us to church for the “sugat” (in Waray) or “salubong” in Tagalog. The event includes Virgin Mary meeting/reuniting with the resurrected Christ with young girls in white singing hymns and throwing flowers to the parishioners. When I was in fifth and sixth grade, I became one of those girls. I remember being so excited to wear a white dress and carry my little basket of flowers like a three-year old flower girl in a wedding.
Just like many catholics (or Christians, for that matter). the whole meaning of Easter was lost on me. To me, Easter marks the end of lent, meaning we can eat meat again and that it was the culmination of the weeklong prayer vigils, stations of the cross, novenas and processions.Surely, those are more than enough reasons for a celebration. The resurrection of Christ is still a mystery to me as is his death and its significance. They keep saying we are celebrating the living God, the ever loving God, the one who loves us unconditionally and has given up His life so that we may be saved.
I want to celebrate Easter the way I did when I was 10 and was wearing a white dress and carrying a basket of flowers. But I can’t. I’m way past innocence and has mourned the church I grew up in. Why is the church who preaches about love condemns the gays? Why wouldn’t it allow women to have choices regarding their own health and well being? Why is it covering up its own transgressions? How can they continue protecting the priests and other church officials who have molested children? How can the church be so wealthy when they preach about being humble and meek and renouncing worldly possessions?
Easter is a new beginning. New beginnings give us hope. Hope is the light that guides us in the darkness that we live in. When everything else is gray and cold, we can hold on to that hope. We can hope that one day things will change for the better. We can hope that one day we would be closer to equality. But until then, we have to do our share and stop bigotry, condemn abuses and respect women and their choices. And when that day comes, I’d probably wear a white dress and carry a basket of flowers.
Happy Easter, everyone!